Kibale National Park is the best National Park for Chimpanzee tracking, its home to 13 primate species including 1,500 chimpanzees. This park when it comes to primates, including the chimps gives you the best experience in East Africa. With in Uganda, there are over 5000 chimps that are found in Kibale forest which is the primate destination. This national park also offers hiking, biking, Crater Lake hikes, caving, Bigodi wetland sanctuary visit, cultural visits and many more.
This national park is one of East Africa’s major tropical Rain forests, and a visit to the forest allows you to discover a whole world beyond savannah as well as the arid plains. The park is mostly known for chimpanzee trekking. The forest is one of the most diverse parks in Uganda. It’s not only a rain forest, but patches of grassland savanna and swamps. The park is also connected to Queen Elizabeth National park through a 180km long wildlife corridor that even extends beyond Kibale Forest.
Within Kibale Forest, you can find vervet monkeys, L’Hoest’s monkeys; Red tailed monkeys, blue monkeys, gray cheked Mangabey moneky, Black and white Colobus, the grey cheeked Mangabey, red Colobus, Black and white Colobus, Olive Baboons and chimpanzees. The Nocturnal primates found here include Bush babies and the pottos and you can also see them when taking a nocturnal guided forest walk with the spotlights which is unusual and rewarding activity.
Kibale forest is more than the chimpanzees and other primates as well as over 70 species of mammals and the checklist of these is so impressive and includes forest Elephants, forest Buffaloes, hippos, warthogs, Ginat Forest Hogs, bushbuck antelopes, the golden cats, leopards, sitatunga semi Aquatic Antelopes with webbed hoofs as well as red and blue Duikers.
Kibale is one of the best forest parks for birds in Uganda with over 375 recorded species and birders can easily spend days adventuring what Kibale has got to offer them spotting the birds like the African Pitta, Green-breasted Pitta, Afep Pigeon, White-naped Pigeon, Crowned Eagle, Red-chested Owlet, Black Bee-eater, Western Nicator, Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird, Little Greenbul, Brown-chested Alethe, Blue-breasted Kingfisher, African Grey Parrot, Scaly-breasted Illadopsis ,Brown Illadopsis, Black-capped Apalis, Blue-headed Sunbird, Collared Apalis, Dusky Crimsonwing, Purple-breasted Sunbird, Red-faced Woodland Warbler, Yellow Spotted Nicator, Little Green Bul, Black-eared Ground Thrush and the Abyssinian Ground-thrush. In case you are a butterfly lover, this national park has over 250 species of butterflies and in case you are really on the lookout for the unique ones, you will spot a few reptiles and amphibians along the trail.
The main activities to be enjoyed in Kibale National Park include; Chimpanzee tracking; many of the visitors come to this park for chimpanzee trekking which means that you will be given one hour with the chimps. Some want more of the experience of being with the chimps and you can have more. Within Kibale forest, you can spend a whole day with the chimpanzee group in what is called chimpanzee Habituation Experience. It’s an all day adventure from early in the morning to late afternoon. This forest is the best place for tracking the chimpanzees in Uganda, the rest of the places include; Kyambura Gorge of Queen Elizabeth National Park, Budongo forest, and Ngamba Island on Lake Victoria.
Chimpanzee Habituation Experience in Kibale Forest; this is the best place in East Africa for chimpanzee Habituation adventure. It’s an all day experience with in the forest. This experience begins so early in the morning and lasts the all day long with your guide, researchers, trackers and the chimps that are habituated. You will be able to see the chimps, birds, trees, mammals as well as butterflies. The permit for the habituation goes for $ 220 per person
There are the bush craft children activities; the children under the age of 15 can’t track the chimpanzees but there are many kid friendly things to see and do while the parents are tracking the chimps. The children friendly rangers will show the children the wonders of the forest and see the wildlife, plants, birds, trees, as well as the monkeys. This forest is one of the few places where children can take the bush craft classes and the activities where the children will not miss adventuring the forest. We also make sure that your kids have a kid friendly driver with them to making them keep more comfortable.
The hikes and the nature walks; these are in and near Kibale forest in Uganda. There is a hike that passes through the length of the park where each night you sleep in a different area just outside the park. There are many day hikes in or near the park and in the park for you to enjoy the many aspects of Kibale Forest and the nearby area. You can get a half day hike during the dry seasons of 12 kilometers in length. Along with this hike, you can see many varied habitants in the forest, rivers, swamp, grassland and the tropical rain forest all making up Kibale forest. You can as well have an extended hike through the park that can be taken and can be added into your itinerary.
There is also the Nocturnal Forest walk; this night forest walk takes place after dinner in the forest. You are guided by Uganda Wildlife Rangers equipped with the spotlights to view the forest come alive at Night. You will see the creatures of the night like the bush babies, pottos, tree pangolins, and the birds that rule the night in the forest. The walk is about 1 and half hours in length. The walk is also optional in the safaris that take in Kibale Forest and is best taken during the night that you arrive in Kibale Forest.
You can also visit Bigodi wetland swamp which is a tropical jungle, filled with natural wonders that have amazed and delights many people each year as they trek through this jungle swamp primates and these include the chimps in the afternoon, birds including the large Blue Turaco. You will also find the incredible plants, trees, palms and the swamp has become a must visit place near Kibale Forest. The Bigodi community project and the guides are from the project and the community benefits greatly. This walk also takes 3 hours and should not be missed by the birders.
There is also the Crater Lake; just near the forest, you will find many crater lakes which you will see as you drive near the park. This top of the world hike is a famous activity near Kibale forest and it’s a three hour guided walk that covers three crater lakes, villages, viewing the tea plantations and a view from the top of the world that takes in 3 crater lakes as well as the Rwenzori Mountains with the land scape below. The hike is three hours in length and is taken with guides who can explain the village life and the history of the lakes.
There is also a visit to Amabere caves; you will visit these amazing caves for its unique beauty, natural wonder as well as the cultural legends. It situated not too far from Kibale Forest and is a must visit. These caves are just a short drive and a combination of legends and nature. You will hear the stories of old and see nature at work as you are guided on the hike to the caves and the waterfall. This walk is about three hours and is conducted by the guide. There are also three nearby crater lakes that can be visited on a hike.
There is also the Nakayima witch tree; this is a known cultural and traditional worship site that you can visit on the way to Kibale from Kampala or from Kibale to Kampala. And lastly you can Kibale forest lodging choices. These also range from budget to midrange and to Luxury. You can always select any option that fits your budget.